Whenever I tell people I am in the primary education program, I am often met with a response that includes some form of "it takes a special kind of person to work with youngsters" or "you must be crazy". Sure kids come with their downfalls like their mysterious affliction of jam hands - a medical condition striking children that causes their hands to attract sticky substances which is then deposited on just about everything - but they also come with a fresh perspective and a whole lot of laughs. Today at work we had the kids select and assemble a foam friend. You are probably asking yourself, "What is a foam friend and how do I get one?" Basically you get a set of foam pieces in a bag accompanied by a set of instructions, and with a little glue, some patience and the magic words, abracadabra, you end up with either a foam lizard, turtle, frog, or snake to call your own. The program I work for offers after school programming with extra support in the areas of social skill building, and literacy/numeracy development. Activities like this work because the kids have to read and follow the directions, they provide a goal or end product to work towards, and they allow them to be successful. Today this exchange happened between E (age 8) and J (age 5):
E: (gluing the spots on her foam frog friend)
J: "Hey! Why your frog has huge pimples on its back?"
That simple question sums up why I choose to work with littles. It is because their imaginations can take things in a direction our adult minds could have never dreamed of. I love my job!